May 4, 2011 By Wallin & Klarich

You come home from work, only to find your wife in bed with another man. In a sudden burst of rage, you kill them both. Another scenario is that a huge bar brawl breaks out, in the commotion you smash a pool cue over someone’s head and he dies. Despite the fact that this sounds like murder, it’s probably not. Under California law, it’s more likely to constitute voluntary manslaughter.
California’s voluntary manslaughter laws apply to killings that you commit
1. during a sudden quarrel, or 2. in the heat of passion.

Prosecutors rarely file Penal Code 192 (a) voluntary manslaughter as a separate charge. The offense usually comes up in murder cases, where the accused admits to killing the victim, but seeks have the charge reduced from murder to manslaughter.
If the charge is reduced to manslaughter, the defendant faces a maximum of 11 years in prison. With murder, by contrast, he faces a potential life sentence…or sometimes even execution.

If you or a loved one have been charged with voluntary manslaughter contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich. We’ve have been helping criminal defendants for over 30 years. Call us at (888) 280-6839 or visit us at

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